How to become a financial adviser

06 April, 2023Joshua Downes

Are you thinking about qualifying as a financial adviser? No matter your career background, if you have good communication and organisational skills and can write up reports, a rewarding career as a financial adviser could be for you.

We put together some advice on how you can become a financial adviser, what the job involves, and what sort of education you need.

What does a financial adviser do?


Financial advisers guide their clients in making sound financial decisions, whether they’re buying a home, investing their savings, dealing with taxes, or planning for retirement. Naturally, helping people to make smart decisions with their money can be a very rewarding career.

Amongst other things, a financial adviser may be involved with:

  • helping clients to manage their finances
  • researching investment options
  • recommending suitable financial products
  • advising on retirement planning
  • guiding clients on building financial resilience
  • helping clients to deal with the financial implications of life events, such as marriage or bereavement.

What skills do you need to be a financial adviser?

Becoming a financial adviser takes commitment and a passion for helping people achieve their financial goals. It is also a job that suits those with particular strengths.

“There are certain skills that are necessary for a successful career in financial advice. Good numeracy and literacy are fairly standard but perhaps the most important being excellent communication, interpersonal and listening skills,” says Richard Cooper, Business Development Manager for financial services at LIBF.

What qualifications do you need to become a financial adviser?

If you want to practise as a financial adviser, then you'll need to attain the necessary credentials. One of the most popular qualifications is the Diploma for Financial Advisers (DipFA), which is a level 4 course and takes around nine months to complete. It fulfils the minimum qualification requirements to operate as a financial adviser, as stipulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The qualification is comprised of two units covering the fundamental areas of financial advice, including:

  • the structure of the UK financial services industry
  • the role of the FCA
  • analysing data
  • assessing potential risks to clients’ financial wellbeing
  • developing financial plans.

Career progression for financial advisers

Training as a financial adviser can lead to an exciting career with excellent prospects and opportunities for progression.

According to Cooper, “the need for quality financial advisers has never been greater, quite simply there are not enough advisers to meet the need for advice. With a significant number of advisers reaching retirement over the next few years the opportunities for progression are only going to increase.”

Once qualified, you might choose to specialise in a particular area, work towards setting up your own financial advisory firm, or continue your education with the Level 6 Advanced Diploma in Financial Advice.

Is financial advice the right career choice for you?

In addition to the skills and qualifications outlined above, financial advisers also need to keep abreast of industry and regulatory updates to ensure they are providing clients with the best and most up to date advice. This means you’ll need to be someone who enjoys learning and improving your skillset, including through Continuing Professional Development.

But, according to Richard Cooper, the rewards are there for those willing to put in the work.

“It is a hugely rewarding profession and it is one that you can add real value too. The satisfaction you get by helping individuals and businesses achieve their financial goals and protect them from the potential challenges they may face can’t be overlooked, quite often they become clients for life,” he says.

“The financial rewards are there if you are prepared to work hard and develop your knowledge and skills. It takes dedication and commitment. It is not easy, but it is one where you can make a difference.”     

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Read more about our Diploma for Financial Advisers